Around the world, COVID-19 has made many a bad situation worse. In doing so, it also showed the world where improvements in care can make the greatest difference.
For underserved and low-income communities facing the pandemic and a corresponding rate of diabetes and pre-diabetes, that's exactly the kind of bad-to-worse scenario that is an opportunity to make a real change.
In a conversation hosted by the Washington Post Live as part the outlet's "Diabetes in America" panel discussion, Jared Watkin, senior vice president of Diabetes Care at Abbott, and Tracey Brown, chief executive officer of the American Diabetes Association (ADA), outline the challenges and how their organizations are partnering to tackle them.
"Forty percent of the people who've died from COVID-19 have been people living with diabetes," Brown said. "Fifty percent of low-income Americans have lost some or all of their income. When that happens, it makes it very difficult for you to manage your diabetes and condition. One out of 5 people during this COVID-19 time have actually had to choose between buying food and their diabetes medicines and supplies. And 43 percent of people living with diabetes have delayed routine care."
No one should have to choose between food and medicine. Relief from those stark choices is behind Abbott's $5 million promise over three years to bring improved diabetes care to those communities. Abbott — a leader in diabetes care — was the first anchor sponsor of the American Diabetes Association's Health Equity Now initiative to address health disparities for people with diabetes.
That commitment isn't limited to supporting the ADA's initiative. From the first day of the R&D process, we're designing our products to be accessible and affordable to those who need them most with the goal to help billions more around the world by 2030.
"Like the ADA, we believe access to breakthrough technologies should not be out of the reach of people who can benefit from it the most. Which is why we took a unique approach from the start with FreeStyle Libre and designed it to be both simple to use but also — critically — affordable," Watkin said.
While COVID-19 has made a bad situation worse for so many, we're working to make the greatest difference for billions around the globe. Watkin's and Brown's full conversation in the video above make that clear.